News

MCC January Update

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Hello friends and welcome to the first MCC Update Blog of 2019! The team is back in action after an awesome update-filled 2018 and some holiday downtime we're excited to share kick off the new year with a brand new MCC patch. Back in November, we introduced the Match Composer for Social Matchmaking along with new aiming customization, ban rules, and a slew of fixes – all driven by player feedback. Today’s update brings you into Halo’s Winter Celebration and adds a new “modern aiming” option, a few more skulls to Halo: CE, and numerous bug fixes. Let’s dive into the details!

Winter Takeover

Back in October, the team brought back Infection where over 50,000 players participated in a matchmaking event to earn the new Flood Nameplate.Then in November, we introduced an updated Flood-themed splash screen and main menu refresh that tied back to the October Flood event. Moving forward, we will have periodic event-based menu takeovers with different in-game challenges or goals for the community to achieve.

In our November update, we asked that between November 19-30, players help us deal with the Infection that took over MCC by playing the Flooded Campaign Playlist. Many players heard this call to action and with your help, the flood have been successfully driven back.  

Flooded by the Numbers

  • Total number of players who played the ‘Flooded’ playlist between 11/19 and 11/30: 18,042
  • Total time played: Over 4 years and 4 months of game time
  • Friendworthy: 2,520 played with a friend

Player Mission Completions:

  • ‘343 Guilty Spark’ (Mission 1): 16,997 players
  • ‘The Library’ (Mission 2): 14,041 players
  • ‘Quarantine Zone’ (Mission 3): 12,057 players
  • ‘Gravemind’ (Mission 4): 10,783 players
  • ‘High Charity’ (Mission 5): 10,320 players
  • ‘Flood Gate’ (Mission 6): 10,006 players
  • ‘Cortana’ (Mission 7): 9,669 players

Multiple play throughs:

  • ‘343 Guilty Spark’ (Mission 1): 654 players played multiple times
  • ‘The Library’ (Mission 2): 420 players played multiple times
  • ‘Quarantine Zone’ (Mission 3): 314 played multiple times
  • ‘Gravemind’ (Mission 4): 233 players played multiple times
  • ‘High Charity’ (Mission 5): 213 players played multiple times
  • ‘Flood Gate’ (Mission 6): 199 players played multiple times
  • ‘Cortana’ (Mission 7): 183 players played multiple times

Now that the flood has been handled, we can enjoy the snowy winter wonderland that has taken over our menus. The team is working on some additional special events and game takeovers for the future.

Back in December, we asked players to come play at least 12 matchmade games in the MCC Insider build prior to the holidays during the scheduled playtest times. Those who participated and played 12 complete games will receive their new Ugly Sweater Nameplate unlocks this week.

For everyone else, don't fret - you can earn the Ugly Sweater Namplate! Anyone who played at least 12 complete matches during December will be granted the nameplate later this month. And, everyone who plays at least 12 complete matches in January, will receive the nameplate in early February. So, get out there and have some fun!

New Feature: "Modern Aiming"

This feature is designed to help address feedback from some players that aim acceleration in MCC doesn’t “feel right.” The “modern aiming” option helps to smooth out the aim acceleration zones on your controller by using values that are more like H2A and H4 than the older legacy titles. The big difference you will notice is that the movement of your cursor is much smoother with these settings turned on and the aim acceleration zones in the diagonals are much harder to activate.

This new setting feels so good that it is turned on by default in the older titles. You can change this back to legacy via the Controller Settings menus.

New Skulls For Halo: CE

Ramp up the challenge and further customize your Halo: CE Campaign experience with the addition of eight more skulls!

  • Anger – Enemies and allies fire their weapons faster and more frequently.
  • Bandana – Fixed a bug with this skull so now energy-based weapons have infinite ammo as well.
  • Catch – Enemies throw and drop more grenades.
  • Ghost – A.I. characters will not flinch from attacks, melee or otherwise.
  • Sputnik – the Mass of objects is decreased, making them more easily displaced
  • That's Just Wrong – Strengthens the hearing of both allies and enemies. They will now notice the slightest sound of reloading or drawing a weapon, footsteps, etc. A.I. also have increased accuracy.
  • Thunderstorm – Field Promotions to the ranks of all A.I. characters so they are more difficult to fight, smarter, and more dangerous.
  • Tough Luck – Enemies always go berserk, always dive out of the way, and never flee.

Playlist Updates

Along with today’s update, we are also making some changes inside of Social Matchmaking. We would like to welcome our latest rotational playlist to the lineup: “Super Duper Fiesta!” This preset includes a mix of Fiesta variants across H2C, H3, H4, and H2A. This will be replacing the “Team Action Sack” option for the time being (don't fret Action Sack fans, it's a temporary refresh). To play Super Duper Fiesta, go to "Social Games" and you'll find it in the "GAME PRESET" option - note that it's using the Action Sack icon but the description displays "SUPER DUPER FIESTA!"

We are also moving some of the game types that were in Action Sack to new homes. Full details below.

Match Composer Settings Changes:

  • Removed Action Sack and replaced with Super Duper Fiesta!
  • [4v4] Added a Super Duper Fiesta! Game preset.
  • [4v4] [H2, H2A, H3, H4] Added Super Duper Fiesta! Entries.
  • [8v8] [H3, H4] Moved BTB Heavies entries from Action Sack to Slayer at low weighting
  • [8v8] [H4] Moved Dominion entries from Action Sack to King of the Hill.

With today's update, Jan. 16, there's only one notable change to the Matchmaking playlists - H3 Hardcore Team Doubles is being removed for now since the tournaments that relied on it are now complete and engagement has slowed. 

MCC has also received several adjustments to Matchmaking Playlists over the past few weeks (all based on player feedback!). For details on all of the most recent playlist changes, please check out these posts on the official MCC Support Trello Board:

Bug Fixes

Here are the key bug fixes included in the January update:

Global

  • Cleansed the Flood infection from the main menu
  • Added error handling to prevent users from joining each other from different versions of the game
  • Fixed an issue where players could not enter gameplay using custom map or game variants in offline LAN
  • Fixed an issue where menu music volume slider changes were not respected while in a squad
  • Fixed some navigation inconsistencies in the main menu
  • Fixed an issue where the descriptions for some campaign killstreak medals were inaccurate in the medal chest

Halo: CE

  • Fixed an issue that resulted in inconsistent hit detection against players with poor connections
  • Fixed an issue where the Bandana skull did not grant infinite ammo to energy weapons in Campaign

Halo 2

  • Fixed an issue where the Bandana skull did not grant infinite ammo to energy weapons in Campaign

Halo 3

  • Fixed an issue where the Shade Turret was not appropriately displayed as the tool of destruction in the post-game carnage report

ODST

  • Improved messaging around which playlists support co-op play

Forge & Films

  • Fixed an issue where incorrect file sizes were being displayed for films
  • Fixed an issue where the character limit for map variant names was displayed inaccurately in Halo 3
  • Fixed an issue where players were forced to re-enter a map variant name after inputting an invalid description

Known Issues

Below are a handful of known issues that the team is aware of with the January update. Each of these issues is on the radar so no need to sound the alarm when providing feedback. These issues were initially messaged back in early December, so hopefully players have had adequate notice and time to plan accordingly. 

Campaign Checkpoint Loss - Halo: Combat Evolved & Halo 3
Due to work being done in the campaigns for both Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 3, the mid-mission checkpoints for both HCE and H3 will be invalidated upon the installation of the January update. Please complete them prior to installing the patch or you will lose the checkpoint progress.

Spartan Ops mission completion badges missing
The team has found a bug in this update that causes Spartan Ops mission completion badges to not appear if they were earned in a previous version of the game (prior to the current updated build) or after the title is relaunched after they have been earned. The stats are being tracked appropriately and badges are awarded, but it's just that they aren't visibly appearing at this time. We are looking into a fix for this but wanted to inform players as this bug will be is in the January update.

Career Stats

In this build certain career stats may appear temporarily blank or not populate without first navigating to another stats page.

Campaign Playlist Progression Achievements

We have been investigating Achievement related queries players have been discussing in the MCC support forums for a while and have found an issue that is present with this update. Currently the ODST, Halo 4, and Halo 2 Campaign Playlists will not grant Achievements correctly when the playlist is started in a previous build, a player takes a new update, and then completes the Campaign Playlist on the updated build. We are investigating solutions for this currently.

As a reminder, bookmark the MCC Support Page on Trello for the latest known issues and overall MCC development status.

The ScoopTM

Once again, our main man in the MCC engineering trenches Sean “Scoops” Cooper is here with some interesting insights and technical talk:

For this update I think I had far more code checked in that was not directly user facing.

One of the bigger tasks I had, to make future life easier, was cleaning up how we define and interface with all the different types of game maps in our Universal UI's code. This was complicated due to things like how maps are referenced in pre-existing data for stats, etc. I had to refactor the map list code to provide a straightforward interface for querying the information we need while at the same time keeping their existing, hard coded IDs in place. It's really bland to talk about compared to all the other Scoop(TM) stuff we've done so far, but it was a lot of code that had to be fixed up and/or deleted and then replaced. It was a much smoother task than anticipated, except for a case which ended up causing Greg's dev profile to get populated with bad data. Sorry, Greg!

However, there is a set of things that I wanted to get out to The Peoples that IS user facing. More Skulls in Halo: CE! Here's what you'll get to pass the time away when it's too cold outside (or too hot, depending on which hemisphere you reside in).

Anger.

Catch.

Ghost.

Sputnik

That's Just Wrong.

Thunderstorm.

Tough Luck.

There are of course more skulls in Halo 2 which have not made their way over to Halo: CE yet, but some of them with good reason. Some have no equivalent features to change (eg, there's no vehicle boarding in the first game so Jacked is off the table). Others require data or code which did not exist originally and would risk breaking the baseline game trying to make them work. Then a few others haven’t been brought over yet as they require more time and testing.

One came very close to being officially added: Feather. What's so special about Feather? Well, as it turns out it in code it really is just Sputnik. The description states "Player and enemy melee strikes impart more movement physics". Well, except that's not *entirely* the case. What the code is doing under the hood is: "Is the thing causing damage to a unit? Does the unit have a weapon in hand? Profit!". That is, so long as you or another biped in the game is wielding a weapon when they do damage, Feather will multiply the physics involved 3x. Which is also how much Sputnik is modifying things. If these two are active at the same time, that's 6x.

Well, given that the skull was NOT implemented to the published spec in Halo 2, QA and I decided to back off on this skull for Halo CE: for now. We either need to update the description, or the code to accurately match it.

Oh, and I also fixed Bandana for both Halo: CE and Halo 2 when it comes to energy-based weapons. I'm hoping to find time next year to start fleshing out the existing skulls into the later games as well. And who knows, you may even see some entirely new things come into the mix relating to skulls ;).

Trivia: for those of you that don't know, skulls were code named "ice cream flavors" in Halo 2. I think at one point I heard, possibly incorrectly, this was due to an incentive where if designers hid these skulls in the levels, they would then get taken out for ice cream. I think I had heard it was Jason Jones asking for the work and fulfilling on the incentive's offer.

What I can say for certain though, is that these gameplay altering skulls have always provided a fun way to go back and play campaign. This helps by providing means of anteing up on metagame challenges. Kind of like New Game Plus modes, but without having to play through things you don't want to. From a product standpoint, they're a great way to give you, the players, something new to chew on now. Enjoy them as we continue work on longer term features that take months to develop elsewhere.

Sadly, I don't have any flashy pictures to show this time around. But I will leave you with a new Fixin', nay, Pimpin' MCC Blooper which for now I'll provide without any additional context and leave you to guess at what all is A) going on and B) what it could mean for MCC in 2019.

ske7ch's note: Having worked at Bungie during the development of Halo 2, I have to state for the record that I've never once heard of this ice cream urban legend. I'd refute it entirely but I'm admittedly old and most days struggle remembering where I parked my car after a day at the office so Scoops' story MIGHT be true. But, I remain HIGHLY skeptical.

LOOKING AHEAD

Last year was a banner year for MCC with the huge September update that brought the game into a modern technical foundation addressing years of feedback and issues while adding numerous awesome new features and improvements. As great as 2018 was, the team is far from done - there's plenty more MCC goodness coming this year! In general, the team's goal is to continue with a weekly cadence of adjusting playlists and responding to feedback with larger patches and updates dropping once per month. Player feedback is hugely important and the team is always reviewing the needs and wants of the community along with opportunities to continue enhancing and improving the MCC experience. As we look ahead to 2019, here are a few of the key areas the team is initially focusing on:

  • "IP Masking" - We know there are some vulnerabilities and issues that allow some nefarious jerks to ruin players good times by kicking them out of a session. This is a priority area the team is working on. Some additional details can be found on the Trello board.
  • Custom Game Browser - It's been a while since this was announced, but rest assured that this is still happening and should make an appearance in the MCC Insider build for community testing sometime in the next few months. 
  • Post Game Carnage Report - Various updates and improvements to the MCC PGCR are in the works. We'll have more details to share later. 

For a bit more perspective on 2018 and 2019 for MCC, check out producer Sean Swidersky's post HERE

And remember, please keep the feedback, suggestions, and bug reports coming! 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

For more information on the state of MCC, past updates, known issues, player feedback, and more - please check out the following resources:

Report issues in our MCC Support Forums.

Share your feedback with the team via the MCC forums here on Halo Waypoint:

THANK YOU

The Publishing Team here at 343 Industries is thrilled to have had the opportunity to revisit and work on Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Over the past year, there have also been many changes to how we as a studio collectively listen and react to the feedback from the community. Together, the Halo community and the 343 team have been able to deliver new features and fixes that have substantially improved MCC.

We look forward to continuing this open dialogue and partnership through 2019 and beyond. We would like to offer our heartfelt thank you everyone in the community who has supported and helped improve MCC by playing, critiquing, and providing thoughtful feedback. In addition, an extra special shout out goes to the folks in the Reclaimers, who have been instrumental in helping the team test builds and content updates to make sure they’re ready for public release.

Thank you and a belated Happy New Year to everyone from the 343 Publishing Team!

P.S. Here's a belated happy holiday message from The Reclaimers (along with a sneak peek at the 'ugly sweater' nameplate!)